Country Weekly: REK Wows Ryman Crowd at Sold-Out Show

Texas Country music’s favorite troubadour, Robert Earl Keen, took his front-porch pickin’ talents to the Ryman Auditorium last night (July 23) to the delight of the sold-out crowd.

The SteelDrivers kicked the night’s festivities off, playing a sampling of their bluegrass standards, including “Where Rainbows Never Die” from their 2010 album, Reckless, and “River Runs Red” from their new album, The Muscle Shoals Recordings. The Grammy-nominated group received a standing ovation for their efforts.

Robert Earl took to the stage looking dapper in a white suit and hat and opened his show with “Feelin’ Good Again,” before breaking into fan favorites “I’m Coming Home” and “Gringo Honeymoon.”

Robert Earl, backed by the stellar play of guitar virtuoso Rich Brotherton, upright bassist Bill Whitbeck, Dobro player Marty Muse, fiddle player Brian Bacon, drummer Tom Van Schaik and mandolin player Kym Warner, treated fans to a cache of songs from his new bluegrass album, Happy Prisoner, including “T for Texas” and “Walls of Time.”

Nashville’s own Todd Snider, barefoot as usual, surprised the crowd by joining Robert Earl onstage for a duet of Todd’s “Play a Train Song,” which Robert Earl recorded on his 2011 album, Ready for Confetti, before Robert Earl closed the show with “The Road Goes On Forever.”

But the crowd had not had enough, and chanted Robert Earl’s name until he came back onstage and encored to a standing ovation with “Front Porch Song” and “Hot Corn, Cold Corn.” It was a night of mighty fine pickin' and grinnin'.

Read the full story at Country Weekly.